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Commission hopes to avoid controversy with sea level study

Surfers crowd the waters near Johnny Mercer's pier on Wrightsville Beach the morning after Ernesto.

The Coastal Resources Commission is taking a more cautious approach with regards to documenting sea level rise.  The group’s science panel became a lightning rod when it was suggested it didn’t consider differing viewpoints on climate change – an assertion the board disputes.  Legislation was introduced that required them to come out with another assessment in 2016 that says all available data must be considered.  Commission chairman Bob Emory says that’s fine and that’s what they were doing anyway.

Bob Emory: "Not because the original assessment was broken or was wrong but just because we are dealing in an area of uncertainty when it comes to specifics associated with sea level rise and we want to take advantage of five additional years of experience and take advantage of any additional data or modeling that has come into being in the last 5 years."

Emory says the goal is to put out the best information and that they’re being careful with wording, for example, calling it sea level “change” rather than sea level “rise” - to avoid last year’s controversy.  But Emory says the vast majority of science on the subject leads to the conclusion that sea level is rising and that that rise will accelerate.

Click the audio file to hear the full 20 minute interview with Coastal Resources Commission chairman Bob Emory.  Also discussed was a bill that would eliminate current members of the commission.  That story is separate, and is linked to below.

Jeremy Loeb returned to WHQR at the start of 2013 after living in Washington D.C. and Carrboro, NC for a time. He had previously been working for WHQR as the host of All Things Considered and a backup to the station’s Operations Manager, George Scheibner for around 6 years. He moved back to his hometown of Durham to be close to family, where he worked at WUNC Public Radio for a stint of 2 years as a reporter, host, and producer. After that he moved up to DC with his partner for a year, which was a great experience for him. But he always remembered WHQR fondly and never lost his passion for public radio, so he was happy to return when the opportunity arose.